Impossible Princess

Impossible Princess

Press Reviews

Ashé Journal

". . . in [Killian's] pages, characters don't so much stumble into experience as embrace it, tear it apart, and ache for more and different kinds of it. His body of work, which includes (and hybridizes) fiction, poetry, the memoir and the essay, is marked by a playful rigor and an openness that takes nothing at face value. It wields an uncanny ability to be penetrating and generous at once. All these are qualities that have made him — deservedly — a cult figure among discerning readers everywhere."
—Peter Dubé

San Francisco Bay Guardian

"When it comes to unpretty and unsentimental sex shed of the layers of accumulated euphemism, Killian doles it out in spades whether readers are prepared for it or not."
— Juliette Tang


"'What portion of one's personality is a fiction?’ . . . It’s a question that swims through [Impossible Princess] . . . It swims through, dives in, submerges itself, reemerges and winsomely skinny-dips in the at times murky, at turns sparkling ponds of Killian’s energetic, muscular, sassy, exquisite prose."
— Colin Herd

Passport Magazine

"'When pressed to account for her affinity to gay men, Moira always smiled and said, "I am a gay man, trapped in a woman's body…This is San Francisco!"' At once funny, knowing, sexy, and a tad twisted, Moira (a character in Kevin Killian’s story "Greensleeves") reflects the overall tone of Impossible Princess, an eclectic collection of short fiction that sparkles, sizzles, and arouses the intellect."

—Jim Gladstone


"Readers familiar with Killian's earlier work, no matter how familiar they believe themselves to be, are entering foreign terrain. It’s much darker here in the framing, but just as fantastic. Familiar or not, it’s a place worth seeing."
— Jesse Hudson

Book Marks

"What's the secret of Killian's prodigious talents with prose, poetry, plays, biographies – and, as is the case with most of the tales in this genius collection, literary porn? All is revealed in 'Rochester' (written with Tony Leuzzi), in which a star-struck reader of 'this great man' finally meets 'Kevin Killian' after hot and heavy e-mail
correspondence – only to find he's a dirty old man living with a chimpanzee who hammers out stories for him on a battered electric typewriter. 'Spurt,' more grounded in morose reality, is about a jaded commuter’s motel trysts with damaged men; erotic fantasy also fuels 'Too Far,' in which a virginal, sexually confused swimming pool salesman, obsessed by Kylie Minogue, meets a has-been British pop star who tickles his libido. Five of the 10 short stories in this exhilarating collection by one of gay lit’s luminaries are reprints – but because the books in which they originally appeared are long out of print, and because they’re so darned good, this collection is better than new."
—Richard Labonte

Time Out New York

"Whatever his subject matter, Killian maintains full authority — offering up a homoerotic interpretation of Flannery O'Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find and a brilliant imagined history of Hank Williams. Here, under the author’s careful control and easygoing charisma, everything seems up for grabs, and almost anything seems possible."

Bay Area Reporter

"In the new stories of Impossible Princess, Killian's only gotten more edgy, imaginative, funny and weirdo, bonko, crazy sexy. It's amazing the way he blends such wild provocations of porn with immersion in pop culture and philosophical musings. He's a pretty unique writer, stimulating a reader from brain to bone."
—John F. Karr

Publishers Weekly

"Ten homoerotic stories by Killian (Spreadeagle) explore startling encounters between the straight and gay worlds. Several of the stories, set in the 1970s, appeared in Killian's previous collections, such as 'Hot Lights,' in which a strapped-for-cash student gets hired for a hardcore porn shoot, and ''Spurt,' set in a Long Island motel where a couple of commuters congregate to indulge in morbid sex. Others are elaborate romances, such as ''Dietmar Lutz Mon Amour,' where an erotic encounter with a security guard in the basement of San Francisco's De Young museum provides a fulfilling intellectual kinship for the married narrator, and ''Too Far,' in which a straight swimming pool salesman from Maryland clearly wants to experiment with a man at a party, though he may get more than he anticipates. Killian is best being self-consciously writerly, as in 'Rochester,' in which a naïve writer arrives at the dilapidated home of the legendary writer 'Kevin Killian,' only to discover a decrepit has-been who keeps a pet chimpanzee typing in the bedroom. Fans of Killian's work will be pleased to find fresh stimulation with shades of Dennis Cooper."